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Microsoft Discredits Claim that Backward Compatibility isn’t Popular

| June 7, 2017

Microsoft Discredits Claim that Backward Compatibility isn't Popular News Xbox  Xbox One Usage Xbox Mike Nichols Microsoft ArsTechnica

Update:  Mike Ybarra CVP of Xbox & Windows gaming has pushed back harder against the claims by Ars Technica, where he said that the study was providing an “inaccurate view of what people do,” via Twitter.

A few days ago, an article was published with an in-depth study of how Xbox One owners used their consoles. Towards the end, the study made the claim that backward compatibility wasn’t a popular feature and even went as far as using statistics from 2015 to back up their figures. Instead of considering the limitations of their study—in particular the population size and its variety—it went on to just assume that the numbers were concrete.  Well, it turns out that they were way off the mark according to Microsoft. Today, Mike Nichols took to Twitter to answer questions about backward compatibility and its usage. He revealed some startling figures which directly contradict the study’s extrapolations.

“Some q’s today on back compat use.  Roughly 50% of xbox one owners have played, over 508 million hours of gaming enjoyed,” reads a tweet from the Xbox CMO.

According to Mike Nichols, who has first-hand data from Microsoft, roughly 50% of all Xbox One owners have played a backwards compatible game on their console. Apart from that, over 508 million hours have been spent playing backward compatible games on Xbox One. Even if we take into account the millions of Xbox One owners out there, the per capita usage statistics are remarkable.  Nichols’s data clearly demonstrates that backward compatibility is quite a popular feature. If we take into account the fact that only 50% of Xbox One owners have used backward compatibly to begin with, the per person usage is staggering.

“Usually one or two BC games in our daily top played games.  Usage remains high.  Quality games last and are worth playing,” said Spencer.

The Xbox boss chimed in the conversation as well.  While Phil Spencer didn’t offer any exact figures, the Xbox head says that there are usually one or two games in the daily top games played on Xbox One that are backward compatible. While Ars Technica’s latest research on backward compatibility is soundingly debunked by these Xbox executives (and more and more like a hit piece), hopefully backward compatibility is here to stay.  The last thing we need as a community is the inability to play games that we’ve already purchased, despite executives from other platforms not seeing the benefit of being able to do so.

The value is in the option, not whether it’s cost effective for a corporation to include that capability in their console.  Whether we play one hour or hundreds, the ability to go back and replay older games that we’ve already paid for is the crux of the argument, not whether its feasible or not. Apart from that, Call of Duty: Black Ops II made it to the NPD top 10 chart in April 2017. When was the last time you heard of an Xbox 360 game doing that?

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  • Facts First

    so bias. backward compatible is great. Xbox gives it for free sony wants you to pay.

  • All Seeing Eye

    Why is this even an argument. On my PC my game collection has been with me for multiple generations. Why should that be any different for consoles. That was a rhetorical question, because game companies want to resell the same games to the consumers its supposedly cares about. I’m glad Microsoft is sticking to backwards compatibility hopefully Sony gets the message.

    • Alpha Male

      I agree, there are plenty of games that I own on Pc that were from X360 ps3 era that I still play.

      • King Sony

        You mean the era when Microsoft actually had exclusives?

    • ShinjiOda

      Should? It’s been that way for nearly 40 years. There are various reasons depending on which generation we are talking about but feel free to act as stupid as you need.

  • Game Over

    Haha, Microsoft just wants to make fans think they have a big library of games when in reality they haven’t released anything worthwhile in a year.

    • King Sony

      Bu bu bu Halo Wars 2.

    • Asher Madan

      Still better than paying for remasters like Sony wants you to.

  • Ocelot forgot his meds

    And the Sony media hoes continue to make a mockery themselves. More people are playing black ops on back compat than any of Sony’s single player games. Not to mention Sony’s $800 million dollar investment in PSnow its own “paid” back compat. Another reason I despise sony and Sony media hoes.

    • ShinjiOda

      The thing is that report wasn’t done by Sony but retards like you some way to defeat and well logic isn’t part of your arsenal.

      • Ocelot forgot his meds

        Logic isn’t part of your arsenal or Sony’s. Back compat is a very attractive feature and it’s heavily used…by 50% of Xbox owners.
        Sony is salty their paid back compat PSnow streaming service is a failure….and you are a butthurt pony twit.

        • Asher Madan

          That’s actually true. PlayStation Now is a failure. I’ve heard absolutely dismal usage statistics. The main issue appears to be the low image quality and lag.

          • Ocelot forgot his meds

            Yup

      • Asher Madan

        Comparing it to Sony’s PlayStation Now service is reasonable comparison though.

  • freddy_uk

    cost £££ for Ms to build but 1.5% of games use it

    • Asher Madan

      Ars Technica’s numbers don’t add up. 508 million hours doesn’t require to 1.5%, especially since over 200 million of those hours were from the last 7 months.

      • SteelCrysis

        508 million hours appears nowhere in Ars Technica’s article.

        • Asher Madan

          That’s the Mike Nichol’s figure which is current. A 200 million hours figure doesn’t appear in their article too which was the last known figure. They chose to use 9 million hours from 2015, even when the 200 million hours figure was available. That’s a red flag.

  • SteelCrysis

    “Towards the end, the study made the claim that backward compatibility wasn’t a popular feature and even went as far as using statistics from 2015 to back up their figures.”

    Wow. Talk about wrong. The Ars Technica study used data from September 2016 to February 2017, not 2015. And you expect me to take this article seriously, when you can’t even accurately report when the data was gathered?

    • Asher Madan

      They’re quoting the 2015 backward compatibility statistics which said that gamers had used around 9 million hours of backward compatibility. If you’re going to troll, maybe read the Ars Technica article before coming across as a fool.

      • SteelCrysis

        How is that relevant to anything? Ars Technica didn’t use the 2015 statistics in its calculations.

        • Asher Madan

          They used that as a justification when a more recent figure of 200 million hours was available. They used that example to point out that back compat was used for “minutes” which is a total lie. That raises red flags. They’re using old stats to fit their 1.5% model which is inaccurate.

          • SteelCrysis

            Again, Ars Technica did not use the 2015 statistics.

          • Asher Madan

            Yes they did. They used the 9 million hours of back compat gaming when they talk about it in their study. They chose to ignore the 200 million hours figure which was up until like 7 months ago. Why do you think that is? Obviously because even 200 million hours doesn’t fit nicely with the 1.5% data. It’s all flawed and inaccurate. Maybe even fake.

        • Asher Madan

          Plus, 508 million gaming hours doesn’t equate to 1.5% especially given the fact that 200 million hours took place in the last 7 months when big big games came to back compat.

          • SteelCrysis

            That number “508 million gaming hours” appears nowhere in Ars Technica’s article.

          • Asher Madan

            If their study was valid then they should’ve known that 508 million gaming hours have been played through back compat. They didn’t. They chose to say they only know about 9 million hours from 2015.

          • SteelCrysis

            The 9 million hours figure is “in the feature’s first month or so of availability” only. Read the Ars Technica article.

          • Asher Madan

            Why did they use that instead of the 200 million figure?

          • Asher Madan

            Either ways, you’re obviously wearing a tin foil hat. I just don’t care. The article was written by me and stays as is. 508 million hours of gaming is from a first-hand source and is the only confirmed data. For all we know, Ars Technica got it all wrong or made up their figures because they were so off when it comes to back compat. Wonder what else they’re off on. This discredits their whole study.

          • SteelCrysis

            You’re the tin foil hat, with your “For all we know, Ars Technica got it all wrong or made up their figures”. More projection. The burden of proof lies on you and the Microsoft persons you cite to prove why Ars Technica is wrong, since you are the ones saying so. I haven’t seen any of you step up to the plate.

          • Asher Madan

            Ummm, 508 million hours (over 200 million in the last 7 months) doesn’t amount to 1.5%. It’s way way way off. Plus, I will always go with Microsoft because they’re a first-hand source. Ars Technica isn’t a first-hand source and has a multitude of flaws in their methodology. You can keep on believing Ars Technica’s clearly bogus data. That’s on you. Don’t try to claim it’s real when it directly contradicts facts. 508 million is a fact because it’s from the guys who run Xbox Live.

          • SteelCrysis

            That’s taking Microsoft at face value. Which is strange, given the general suspicion that’s usually aimed at Microsoft by the tech community.

          • Asher Madan

            Yeah, because I deal with facts, not suspicion like you. 508 million is a fact coming from a first-hand source familiar with Xbox Live. Mike Nichols didn’t just invest the figure. However, Ars Technica, give the fact that they have limited data, are the ones who can be questioned.

          • SteelCrysis

            I deal with the facts of Ars Technica’s analysis, not Microsoft’s non-analysis, unverified protests, or your uncritical acceptance of them.

          • Asher Madan

            Just because you don’t like the 508 million figure and how it discredits Ars Technica doesn’t make it wrong. “I’m suspicious of Microsoft” isn’t an excuse.

          • SteelCrysis

            I didn’t say “I’m suspicious of Microsoft”. I said the tech community generally had that attitude.

        • Asher Madan

          So yeah, Ars Technica’s study is utter nonsense. Not only does Mike Nichol’s data confirm that, but Mike Ybarra flat out discredited it. End of story.

          • SteelCrysis

            Here’s you in a nutshell: http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Gish_Gallop

          • Asher Madan

            That’s more like you because you’re repeating the 508 million figure. Maybe read the article again. It’s right up there!

          • SteelCrysis

            Psychological projection at its finest, projecting your Gish Gallop of flimsy arguments onto me.

          • Asher Madan

            Later man. Keep that foil on that head.

    • Asher Madan

      Plus, the Ars Technica study doesn’t even matter anymore because Mike Ybarra came out and flat out called it inaccurate and skewed.

      • SteelCrysis

        And why should we should trust the word of someone at Microsoft over an analysis of data?

        • Asher Madan

          Because they are a first-hand source and Ars Technica’s data isn’t even accurate. I mean, even I can tell their study is flawed.

          • SteelCrysis

            So everyone is supposed to drop their general suspicion of Microsoft, simply because they’re going against hard data?

          • Asher Madan

            Man, I don’t care if you’re wearing a tin foil hat. The fact is that Mike Nichols, the Xbox exec, confirmed 508 million hours. Over 200 million hours added in the last 7 months since our last figure. That’s a first-hand source. I am going to believe a first-hand source over possible bogus data from Ars Technica.

          • SteelCrysis

            We have firm data. Why should we trust someone’s word over that? I thought Microsoft was generally to be viewed with some suspicion, as that’s the usual attitude of the tech world to them.

          • Asher Madan

            Had the Ars Technica study been valid they should’ve at least come close to the 508 million figure. They didn’t. Instead they chose to use 9 million back compat hours from 2015. I think after that revelation the Ars Technica study lost all credibility.

          • SteelCrysis

            Again, why should we trust someone’s word over hard data?

          • Asher Madan

            Because the data is clearly fake. 508 million gaming hours is HARD DATA.

          • SteelCrysis

            “508 million gaming hours” is what we have heard from Microsoft. It does not amount to the same trustworthiness as Ars Technica’s actual work in its analysis.

          • Asher Madan

            Ars Technica’s study is fake in my opinion. There’s no way they should be millions of hours off. It’s impossible.

          • SteelCrysis

            That’s quite a jump in certainty from “For all we know, Ars Technica got it all wrong or made up their figures”.

          • Asher Madan

            There’s no other way to describe their 508 million discrepancy. Obviously their data is either fake or highly flawed, thus inaccurate.

          • SteelCrysis

            And there you go back to “either fake or highly flawed”.

  • Asher Madan

    Mike Ybarra issued a stronger statement.

  • Dennis

    Well, I love it. Most people I know with XB1 love it too.

    I’d say maybe not actively playing each one every day – but that’s most of my newer games too…save the Division…that’s almost an addiction.

    • Asher Madan

      I’ve been actively playing Lost Odyssey and Rage. Absolutely love them. Probably have around 15 hours in Lost Odyssey and 20 hours in Rage.

  • Whatever

    “Discredits” with old PR spin, lol.

    MS executives on damage control is always cute to see.

  • SteelCrysis

    https://arstechnica.com/gaming/2017/06/the-devil-from-the-details-proper-interpretation-of-our-xbox-usage-data/
    “Microsoft Xbox Corporate Vice President Mike Ybarra subtweeted our data Tuesday by saying that “scraping some data off servers gives an inaccurate view of what people do.” We actually agree with that sentiment, to some extent. For all the reasons we laid out in our piece (and above), our numbers might not be the same as the real numbers Microsoft has direct access to.

    That said, even with all the potential issues, we still stand behind the statement of purpose we put forth in the initial piece: “We think these estimates of Xbox usage and game ownership are still superior to
    the utter lack of information we had about the world of Xbox usage before.”

    Microsoft and other publishers and platform holders remain incredibly tight-lipped about sales and usage data for their games. There are surely good, competitive and collective action reasons why gaming corporations are unwilling to share robust information on how their games are being played. Yet these issues don’t seem to get in the way in the film industry—where public box office receipt estimates are available going back decades—or TV—where Nielsen audience estimates are published every single day.

    Even in music, Spotify publishes relative popularity data for its songs that can feed larger analysis. Spotify also publishes its own analyses of that data.

    Compared to this, the game industry is starving for quality, public information about what people are buying and playing. This is the kind of information can be crucial for indie developers trying to develop a business case for a certain type of game, or for small publishers looking to see what the competitive landscape looks like. For the media, this kind of information is important to help frame our coverage decisions and decide what our audience might be interested in. And for plenty of consumers, there’s a general interest in wanting to know how personal console usage stacks up to others and what games are driving interest in a platform of choice, as well as other platforms.

    Microsoft has yet to respond to a direct request for comment on our reported numbers (aside from the tweets mentioned in this piece). If the company wanted to, though, it could share the precise percentage of total Xbox One usage time represented by backward compatible Xbox 360 games. It could give us a top 20 list of the most popular and/or bestselling Xbox One games every month.

    The company could confirm or deny the accuracy of the rest of Ars’ reported numbers and help us correct our estimates where necessary. Or it could obviate the need for those estimates altogether by just sharing at least some of this kind of data directly.

    Until and unless the industry is willing to be more open with some of its data, we’ll continue to look for other ways to get at this kind of information. And we’ll continue to be upfront about the limitations of
    these methods, warts and all, for public consideration.”

  • crizz1066

    HAhahahahaha just saw this article.

    M$ really will promise and say anythng to get fools to part with their money!!

  • freddy_uk

    “. Roughly 50% of xbox one owners have played”
    have played ? What about currently playing ? <20%

  • freddy_uk

    “. Roughly 50% of xbox one owners have played”
    have played ? What about currently playing ? <20%

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